I packed everything which I thought and hoped I’d need for my upcoming birthday party performance in a small sports bag.I’d unfortunately thought of this T-Shirt just the day before and my order arrived on the Saturday afternoon, after I’d set of for the black forest.
I collected three also invited from Frankfurt and we set off on the three hour drive. It took a little longer due to traffic jams and the couple of primer beers at the pension, while we were waiting for Frank to arrive from Stuttgart were very welcome.
On the way we’d practised a bare minimum. Susi had failed to organise an instrumental of Helene Fischer’s “Atemlos”, which she was going to open with, so I’d spent a half an hour that morning preparing two versions. We settled on the version with minimum backings, but that wasn’t the song which was played.
My throat was Feeling a bit rough and I wasn’t sure whether it was from the FATE rehearsal on Thursday or whether I was getting a cold. I’d swilled with TCP the night before, and also that morning, and had packed a little bag full of medicine in the small sports bag.
As a result of my voice I decided to opt for a minimum sing-a-long in the car with just one rendition of “The Great Pretender”, so that my colleagues would be prepared for how I sang it and for the backing vocals.
We got to the venue and the birthday boy had set up a mixer, which he’d hired especially, connected to some speakers and a laptop for the music. I had three USBs and a CD with me, just in case. As it turned out the laptop had no CD drive, but the songs were transferred from a USB stick.
We were trying to set the mixer up without revealing all our plans, although the birthday boy kept looking to see what was happening and asking if everything was ok. The mixer also came with a cordless mike, but as I didn’t know how the mike performed, opted to plug (Kirk’s) SHURE into the HELIUM XT and the other mikes I’d bought along, for the backing singers, directly into the mixer.
We decided to do our turn after the main meal and after the slide shows. It would have been around 22:00. As the host was expecting me, we’d planned that I’d be introduced “No expense spared to get hold of Robbie Williams and dig up Freddie Mercury” and “Helene” would push in front of me and sing her opener.
To replace the missing “hairy chest” T-Shirt I’d taken along a Skin coloured T-Shirt to wear under my “military jacket“. The jacket had already impressed those who’d seen it and, once I was dressed, I asked Susi about the T-Shirt and she said I should remove it.
The introduction went as planned and Susi’s performance went well with the main problem being that our “sound engineer” had no idea what he was doing and both “Atemlos” was way too quiet, with myself entering the fray and raising the volume a little.
Then I introduced myself and we got everyone roped in with “We Will Rock You”, including the backing singers who grabbed a couple of blow-up guitars I’d bought along.
I think “Let Me Entertain You” was up next, for which I stripped off my Freddie jacket and Blue Oyster club “leather” cap and showed off my “Tattoos” which are really very effective. Doing my best to hold in my stomach as best I could I rattled the song off, fluffing the start a little with mumbled words as I’d forgotten the lines but the rest went well, apart from the fact that I couldn’t hear the music above my singing and, as the verses are rattled off at a pace and without a break, I found myself ahead of the music and having to wait a couple of times.
I don’t think the audience noticed, but Susi did and it will be noticeable on the recording.
Next up was “The Great Pretender”, so jacket and cap back on and the host was now sitting alone on the floor, in front of the other guests, to enjoy his request.
I started to sing and the birthday boy started to sing along. Extra pressure for me to get the words right. But both words and timing (not a problem as there are large gaps in the singing in order for me to orientate myself) seemed to go well.
We finished, at the host’s request, with “Angels” and we roped in the host for the final outro.
It seemed to go down well, the main thing was that the host enjoyed it, and several of the guests thanked us for the show, much later, as they made their way home.
The days before the performance I’d asked myself whether I was feeling nervous and several times on the Saturday, but there were no nerves. Whilst singing, apart from my timing, I generally thought the notes were good. I noticed the XT was giving a good depth to the voice whilst I was speaking in between songs. Whilst singing I noticed I was concentrating on my delivery, that is directly judging the part and relying on my subconcious to provide the words. Apart from a little fluffing at the start of “Let Me Entertain You” the words were all ok.
As is usual with all peformances, the whole thing is over way too quickly.